- Greece is willing to loan the UK a number of works of antiquity to 'fill the void' at the British Museum if the Parthenon sculptures — also known as the Elgin marbles — were returned to Athens, the country's Culture Minister Lina Mendoni has said.1
- 'Our position is clear,' said Mendoni in an interview with the Guardian published on Wednesday. 'Should the sculptures be reunited in Athens, Greece is prepared to organize rotating exhibitions of important antiquities...'2
- Though she insisted 'to make full use of the possibilities offered by dialogue and cultural diplomacy' to secure the marbles, Mendoni cautioned that 'any agreement and all its particulars, would have to be in accordance with the Greek law on cultural heritage.'3
- The comments underline how far Greece is prepared to go to settle the dispute — one of Europe's longest-running after a bankrupt Lord Elgin, a former British ambassador to the Ottoman empire, brought the marbles from Greece to the British Museum in 1816.2
- While the campaign to retrieve them has ebbed and flowed through the years, the issue erupted again last month, prompting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to cancel a meeting with Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis over fresh disagreements.4
- However, it renewed hopes that an agreement over the marbles' possible return might soon be made — in part triggered by the renewed media attention but also from the decision of Britain's King Charles to wear a tie and handkerchief emblazoned with the Greek flag at the COP28 climate summit.5
- Narrative A, as provided by Euronews. The Parthenon marbles come from a site of huge historical importance to Greece. Britain continuing to possess the items is as ridiculous as if the Greeks were to possess and display Britain's Crown Jewels in their country. The marbles should be returned to their rightful home, where they can be enjoyed alongside the full collection.
- Narrative B, as provided by Europeanconservative. Had Britain not taken the Parthenon sculptures, they would have undoubtedly fallen into a state of disrepair, just as the works that remained in Greece did due to the country's high pollution levels and acid rain. It's only because of the tireless work of staff at the British Museum that the sculptures are in pristine condition and are available for the public to enjoy. That's the way it should stay.